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Thread: Samurai Swords

  1. #1
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    Samurai Swords

    Firstly, I'd be remiss in my duties here if I didn't open this thread with this link.

    Now on to this thread. We have plenty of Samurai Sword related threads, but not one specifically oriented to said topic, and I suspect there will be more to feed this thread in the months to come, now that it is posted.

    Here's some opening news:

    Japanese city offering authentic handcrafted swords in exchange for “tax” payments
    Master Blaster 16 hours ago



    The best part is you don’t even have to live there to pay the tax!

    Seki City in Gifu Prefecture recently announced that they will be giving away 20 handmade Japanese swords to anyone who pays into their furusato (hometown) tax in amounts of either 3 million or 5 million yen (US$49,300 and $29,600).

    Furusato tax is not exactly a tax since it is not mandatory nor is it paid by the residents of the city. It is more of a donation that is used as tax revenue for the city and also allows the donor to receive a break on their own residency tax.

    It was begun in 2008 as a way to address the loss of revenues rural areas were facing as a result of their declining populations. In order to attract donations cities will often offer “thank you gifts” such as local produce or crafts, or even the chance to be mayor.

    In the case of Seki, donors are tempted with one of the legendary swords that the area has been famous for producing for nearly 700 years, including such notable swordsmiths as the Seki no Magoroku.

    Earlier this year they ran a campaign where a 1 million yen ($9,900) furusato tax donation would be thanked with a Seki handmade dagger measuring 24 centimeters (9.5 inches) and the response was so good that they decided to up the ante for full swords.

    ▼ The million-yen knife



    This time, a donation of 5 million yen will get you one of five 72-centimeter (28-inch) swords crafted by 63-year-old Mitsutoshi Ogawa the successor of 60 generations of sword-making techniques and artistry and a certified “Important Intangible Cultural Asset” of Seki City, although I’m sure he would prefer not to be called “intangible.”



    If 5 million is a little too steep, you can always spend 3 million and have it made by an up-and-coming middle-aged swordsmiths affiliated with the Sekiden Japanese Sword Training and Technology Preservation Society. They may not be legendary yet, but give them time.

    Either way, you’d still be paying less than market value for this level of craftsmanship and getting a tax deduction for it. Donors would also get to meet with their swordsmith and have an engraving of their choosing made on their blade. The swords take a year to be forged and also come with a sheath and cleaning kit.

    Reader reaction in Japan was a mix of rabid desire and some musings over the relevance of owning a sword in this day and age.

    “Want.”
    “5 million yen is freakin’ expensive!”
    “I would use it to cut meat and vegetables for dinner.”
    “*Drools* Just the chance to meet with the swordsmith is great!”
    “That’s ridiculous. Millions of yen for a chunk of iron.”
    “I’ll just buy one of the ones in the Asakusa souvenir shop.”
    “That would be handy when I can’t find my flathead screwdriver.”
    “How about they craft some nail clipper for a 10,000 yen donation?”
    “I’d love to have one, but that price…”

    Joking aside, these swords should be seen more as works of art and pieces of cultural heritage rather than actual tools, but of course a zombie apocalypse would easily flip the script on that.

    If you’re craving such a weapon from overseas, we don’t know if it will work for certain. I presume Seki City would be more than happy to take your money, but of course you wouldn’t be eligible for the tax break in your own country. Enqueries can be made to the Seki City Planning Department Citizen Collaboration Section (shiminkyodo@city.seki.lg.jp), but probably only in Japanese.

    The Seki City website also lists the other blades available for furusato tax donations, and wouldn’t you know it? They actually have a nail clipper set for 10,000 yen!



    Source: Seki City, Asahi Shimbun, Ki ni Naru Sokuho (Japanese)
    Top Image: Seki City
    Images: Seki City 1, 2, 3
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #2
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    Slightly OT

    Anyone ever buy from this company?



    Welcome to yoroikabuto.com

    Samurai Armor MORISAKI offers the finest Antique Japanese Armor, Samurai Art.
    The Morisaki Family has been engaged in faithful replication and restoration of national treasure and cultural property armor for three generations.
    We offer only the antiques selected carefully by the specialized knowledge the president cultivated.
    We'd like you to have the opportunity to experience a taste of the samurai spirit, and of traditional Japanese culture by purchasing them..
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #3
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    Aoi-Asojinja

    Historic sword restored to former glory, returned to shrine
    By YOSHIKI YASHIRO/ Staff Writer

    June 19, 2021 at 17:10 JST


    Photo/Illutration Shota Kimura presents a restored sacred sword June 16 to Yoshifumi Fukukawa, head priest of Aoi-Asojinja shrine in Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto Prefecture. (Yoshiki Yashiro)


    HITOYOSHI, Kumamoto Prefecture--A samurai sword forged in 1665 by a master craftsman once again boasts a shiny luster following extensive restoration work due to flooding that badly damaged a local shrine's collection of 77 historic blades.

    Torrential rains last July on the main southern island of Kyushu left the Aoi-Asojinja shrine here inundated with water. All of the shrine buildings were water logged, resulting in its collection of swords becoming rusty.

    A crowdfunding campaign by the shrine led to donations far exceeding its initial goals, allowing for restoration of more than one damaged sword.

    A ceremony was held June 16 to mark the return of the 60-centimeter sword created by master Kyoto swordsmith Takai Echizen Kami Minamoto Nobuyoshi. The words “Aoi Daimyojin,” a past name of the shrine, are etched into the blade.

    The sword was presented to Aoi-Asojinja over 350 years ago by retainers of the feudal lord of the Sagara clan on his behalf.

    When the shrine began its crowdfunding campaign last August, it set an initial goal of raising 5 million yen ($45,000). But that figure was reached just 90 minutes or so after the campaign began. Over the course of a month, 35 million yen was donated to the shrine.

    Swordsmith Shota Kimura and his family members began restoration work on the sword last October.

    “I had never seen anything like it in all my time as a swordsmith,” Kimura recalled thinking when he first set eyes on the damaged blade. “It was so badly rusted.”

    As he had no experience in polishing a sword that had been damaged by exposure to water, Kimura gingerly tried a number of techniques.

    He said the most difficult part was removing the rust while not erasing the carved characters on the blade.

    Restoring swords involves a number of steps, such as polishing and bringing out the luster of the blade.

    This time-consuming process meant that only seven swords could be restored as of June 16. Restoring all 77 blades will likely take about 10 years, Kimura said.

    At the June 16 ceremony, Yoshifumi Fukukawa, the head priest of Aoi-Asojinja, carefully checked the swords presented to him by Kimura.

    The sacred blade was placed in a white sheath that had the names of the 135 donors and others involved in the crowdfunding campaign written in ink.

    “The luster has been restored to a level greater than before the disaster,” Fukukawa said after receiving the sword. “This has taught us that anything can be restored as long as everyone works together as one.”

    The other swords will be returned to the shrine once the restoration work is completed.

    The shrine is constructing a facility on its grounds to display its national treasures. The work is expected to be completed by summer 2022. The restored swords will be among the items displayed.
    Well, that sword restorer has a decade of work lined up.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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